This past April, South Beach Comedy Festival-goers were treated to an eccentric tragicomedy about an eccentric celebrity, Isabella Blow, the British fashion muse and magazine editor known for her keen eye (she discovered Alexander McQueen) and ostentatious headwear. Exploring Issi's wit, style, and death wish - she attempted suicide six times before succeeding, in 2007 - Jessica Farr penned the one-act play, then called Charming Acts of Misery, for the Mad Cat Theatre Company.
Now, that minimalist 40-minute show has been expanded into Blow Me, a full-length production with more elaborate sets, costumes, props, and an added cast member.
If the original Comedy Fest production was heavier on the laughs, this full-length play will explore both the ups and downs of Issi's roller coaster of a life.
"The first production felt more like a teaser," Farr says. "Before, we met the characters and they were more transient, symbolic. This time they will all have arcs and a greater presence in the story."
The change of venue, from a lineup of comedic acts to a traditional stage, gave Farr more leeway with the story, too. "Also, this time around it's not a part of the comedy festival, so there is now more of a possibility for sitting in moments of gravity and exploring themes that were merely mentioned before," she explains, admitting, "I still think it's pretty funny though."
Blow Me marks Mad Cat's debut production in its new home at the Miami Theater Center in Miami Shores. Its MTC debut is directed by Paul Tei, and stars Erin Joy Schmidt as Isabella Blow. Supporting cast members include Matthew Glass, Noah Levine, Emilie Paap, and Gregg Weiner.
The show runs Aug. 15 to Sept. 1, and show times are 8 p.m. Thursdays to Sundays. Tickets cost $30 adults and $15 students. Call 866-811-4111 or visit madcattheatre.org.